Alternative Rural Development in the Age of Internet: A Close Look at E-Commerce Village Typologies in Rural China
Citationliu, xinru. 2021. Alternative Rural Development in the Age of Internet: A Close Look at E-Commerce Village Typologies in Rural China. Master's thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractTaobao Village, a name created by Alibaba Group in 2009 to mark three Chinese villages heavily engaged in e-Commerce, has exceeded 5400 in number by 2020. The exponential growth of Taobao Village suggests that e-commerce is a generally applicable solution to alleviate rural poverty.
Through data gathering and data analysis of the site information of 5400+ Taobao Villages, my research for this thesis project identifies 16 different types of Taobao villages; each represents a unique combination of product type, location, and power structure. This research looks at the road network connectivity of these villages, which shows that most of these villages are located within close proximity to cities and small towns despite the expanding internet network coverage. My research further identifies villages producing products related to local culture and heritage. Through a comparative study of the morphology of villages producing locally-based products vs. villages producing non-local standard commodities, the study reveals that immaterial resource, such as local culture, crafts, and heritage, often engenders a more diversified local industry, which may help maintain the original village form while contributing to local economic growth.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367869